Middle East

UAE’s Military Push Likely to Anger Western Arms Suppliers

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly launched a program to build military weapons on its own, in a move likely to frustrate the country’s traditional arms suppliers.

The UAE has established a government-owned conglomerate to spearhead development of advanced weapons for its military, Reuters reported.

The new entity, known as EDGE, will take more than 25 state-owned companies under its umbrella, employing a combined workforce of approximately 12,000 with annual revenues topping $5 billion, it said.

Those ambitions were put on display at Dubai Airshow in Dubai last month, where the country’s military handed an EDGE subsidiary a $1 billion contract for guided missiles.

According to Reuters, the UAE’s defense industry now manufactures drones and small ammunition under the EDGE.

Observers believe the program is likely to anger long-time arms suppliers, chiefly the United States, which have traditionally looked at the oil-rich Arab states as a source of lucrative ventures.

The UAE has recently cultivated military relations with China and China and bought some weapons from them.

According to US-based defense analysis firm Teal, the UAE is expected to spend $17 billion on its military next year, up from $14.4 billion in 2014.

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